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McHenry changes rules for sellers

Limiting solicitation to McHenry entities may cause legal issues

McHENRY – Despite potential First Amendment issues, the McHenry City Council unanimously has approved a new peddling and solicitation ordinance.

Under the new ordinance, only organizations and companies located in McHenry’s city limits or that have chapters in the city can go door-to-door, although a preference for city-based businesses was lifted in the peddling license process.

The changes also exempt organizations sponsored by Districts 15 and 156, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts from the ordinance’s requirements.

By treating some entities different than others, the city could find its ordinance challenged, City Attorney David McArdle said, adding that any ordinance that tries to regulate this type of activity could face a challenge.

McArdle pointed the council’s Community and Development Committee to a case in which a Downers Grove ordinance was declared unconstitutional because it regulated commercial and noncommercial solicitation differently, according to council documents.

Ordinances, however, are assumed valid until deemed invalid by the courts, the documents said.

The Community and Development Committee decided to keep the amendments and revise the ordinance if necessary.

The ordinance also eliminates citywide peddling, limiting it to designated places along the Riverwalk, and increases the peddling license fee to $250 from $100 and the additional per-person fee to $50 from $5.

Peddling will also be allowed for an extra two hours, until 11 p.m., on the weekends. Solicitation in public places will also be extended to 9 p.m. from 7 p.m.

The hours solicitation is allowed in residential areas will be cut an hour, shortening the time period to 6 p.m., though the ban on holiday and Sunday solicitation was lifted.

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